By M. I. Bhat
Yeah. That seems to be the developing story of Cuba, indeed all of Latin America, on one side and United States on the other. Degrees of freedom and economic fortunes for the peoples on the two sides of the Florida Straits appear to be on reverse mode.
World knows Cuba — primarily through Western mainstream media – as a ‘Communist outpost’ in the underbelly of United States that, like its former mentor and supporter, Soviet Union, is but a little bastion of Communist cruelty against its people, therefore justifying continuance of American Cold War approach against the tiny island country.
But, as usual, it is far from the ground realty – no less false than Saddam’s WMDs. What brought Cuba close to Soviet Union is conveniently ignored because it helps mask American duplicity that beats its drum of freedom and democracy simply for opening avenues in other countries for exploitation by its corporate mafia and banksters.
Never mentioned, for instance, is the America’s forcible occupation of Cuba first from 1898-1902 and then 1917-1923 or the Platt Amendment, a piece of humiliating and exploitative legislation passed by the US Congress in 1902 — later in 1903 christened as the Cuban-American Treaty — that rendered Cuba a protectorate of the United States, granting the latter veto power over Cuban foreign and economic policies and perpetual lease of Guantánamo Bay.
By early 1920s, while Americans virtually controlled Cuban farmlands and sugar industry, the Islanders were introduced to the business of prostitution and gambling controlled by American criminal gangs, which also forayed into several other businesses.
When not directly Governing itself, as was the case for a very brief period (1933-34) when the reformist Grau San Martin held the reins of Cuban government, America propped up and sustained dictators like Gen. Gerardo Machado (1925-33) and Fulgencio Batista (1934-44 and 1952-58) – like we see Hamid Karzai currently in Afghanistan. US Government and media may wish and try to erase American political, economic and moral depredations of Cuba but fortunately history writing hasn’t been the sole prerogative of the United States.
When Fidel Castro helped his nation finally throw away in 1959 this yoke of American humiliation and exploitation, he was labeled communist, anti-freedom, anti-democracy, anti-Cubans and anti-American. Right from the day he came to power, first as Prime Minister (1959-76) of the independent Cuba (though Guantanamo Bay continues to be under America) and later as the President, Cuba – like Iran-Syria-North Korea – has been suffering American wrath for its refusal to toe itself to the American hegemonic capitalist empire.
From Dwight Eisenhower, every US President tried whatever dirty means they have in their sabotage kitty, which includes unabashedly false propaganda, economic and political sanctions and CIA-sponsored assassination attempts and terrorist attacks, all directed to change the Government in Havana. Not ready to accept that, shorn of US propaganda, majority of the Cubans support their Government, each attempt met with utter failure. Bay of Pigs invasion was nothing but the US frustration.
Castro brothers (Fidel and Raúl) may not have turned Cuba into a roaring economy but the hard fact is that the Government that has been all through projected by the American political class and mainstream media to be anti-people hasn’t ever let its citizens go hungry, hasn’t let them go without education or medical care – some of the most basic elements of a decent and civilized life that incidentally have become big political issues and tens of millions people are crying for in the United States.
In fact Cuba beats United States in literacy (99.8% vs 99%), infant mortality (4.83 vs 5.98 per 1000 live births) and average life expectancy (78.3 vs 78.2) notwithstanding overwhelming differences in their economies. “In 2006, Cuba was the only nation in the world which met the WWF’s definition of sustainable development; having an ecological footprint of less than 1.8 hectares per capita and a Human Development Index of over 0.8 for 2007 (Wikipedia).
Notice the reported years (2006, 2007) are almost two decades after the fall of Soviet Union, that is, long after source of any major outside financial help had dried up for the Cuban Government and when the United States was still supposed to enjoy overwhelming economic leverage compared with Cuba.
But all these hallmarks of Cuban’s happy life meant nothing for the US Government or the media because Castros made it possible without letting American corporate mafia and banksters feed on Cuban blood and without letting World Bank and IMF dictate and ravage Cuban economy.
On the contrary and to the America’s frustration, achievements of Cuba let the Latin American Left sustain hope in the future, which has flowered in due course across South America. The whole continent has been experiencing relative clam and country after country is seeing peaceful transition from one elected government to another. Third term for Hugo Chavez is a blazing testimony for the success of anti-Americanism prevalent among the psyche of the Latin Americans.
Each country on the continent has shunned America and is making progress using its own social and economic models and pace of reforms for bettering the lives of their people. Leaders are slowly but surely knitting their countries together into a single economic and geopolitical block and isolating the continent from the United States in favor of China, Russia and India.
The measure of dislike toward the United States is perhaps best reflected by the welcome Iran receives in these countries. Even Columbia — the last hope/ally of the United States in South America – has now preferred and sought Cuba’s help, over American military arms, to settle its decades-long fight against FARC, and, in complete disregard for the US policy and sentiment, advocates Cuba’s participation in the next Summit of the Americas!
Now take a look to the north of the Florida Straits, you see lights of freedom shutting and darkness descending. The country that never felt constrained from using military force to make world accept and follow its models of freedom and capitalism is slowly but surely turning into a police state with mountains of debt and misery.
The situation has become so dire across the United Sates that well-meaning and knowledgeable people on the alternate media are openly talking of impending civil war. The subject seems to have got real pace and terminology morphing from “social unrest” to “civil unrest” to plain “civil war” in recent weeks given a series of Government measures that connect like pieces of jigsaw puzzle and seem conscious decisions in preparation of facing some sort of social implosion. Here is a summary list of these measures widely discussed here on VT and other sites.
First in the series is the passing, in late 2011, of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 allowing “the U.S. military the authority to indefinitely detain without charge and incarcerate any American citizen on U.S. soil, for reasons and on grounds that the military does not have to disclose.”
Mere determination of a suspicion that a citizen is likely to go for a protest is enough to land him/her in Guantanamo or any other prison for life without any recourse to due legal process. Even the minor legal option of habeas corpus goes non-existent.
The implications of the Act for the freedoms enjoyed by Americans are so scary that President Obama himself conceded, “The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists.”
Giving a damn to his own concerns, he moves on to suddenly but quietly issue the Executive Order, called “National Defense Resources Preparedness,” which in plain language empowers the Government, should it decide, to take control of all of US (private and Government) resources including “civil energy supplies … control and restrict all civil transportation … and even provides the option to re-enable a draft in order to achieve both the military and non-military demands of the country.” The order was published on the White House website on 16 March 2012. Mind you, even Bush43 didn’t need this law when he launched two wars – Afghanistan and Iraq.
In came on the heels the more upsetting news about the Government activating the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and army camps throughout America for potential internment of its citizens, and seeking bids for their services, like “catering, temporary fencing and barricades, laundry and medical services, power generation, refuse collection, and other services required for temporary ‘emergency environment.’”
If these measures weren’t already enough to create paranoia among the Americans not glued to Fox TV, came the revelation about the purchase, which began in March 2012, of 1.5 billion rounds of .40 caliber hollow point bullets by such Government departments not expected to have any use for this type of ammo in their inventory. Use of this particular type of bullets, which explodes after entering human body for ensuring maximum organ damage, is not permitted even during warfare under Geneva Conventions.
Major part of the purchase is by the Department of Homeland Security, which is also purchasing riot gear and armored vehicles; other departments include Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), Social Security Service, National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and part of the ammo is said to be for use by, lo and behold, snipers.
And finally, this apparently innocuous piece of legislation titled “Mass Fatality Planning and Religious Considerations Act,” passed by the Congress on 28 September and notified on 5 Oct, mandating FEMA to prepare for “mass fatality planning” and funeral homes, cemeteries and mortuaries that could be “overwhelmed” in the aftermath of a “natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster.” Jewish and Muslim religious obligation to ensure burial of a dead body within 48 hours of death is cited as one of the considerations for the Act.
Individually each piece of these measures may seem unrelated but when seen together they get neatly connected to something developing that the US Government is anticipating but not willing to confess or declare publically.
One may argue, for instance, that the executive order concerning the “National Defense Resources Preparedness” may have been necessitated by the potential war with Iran resulting in disruption in energy supplies with disastrous consequences for the American economy. But it doesn’t connect, say, with reactivation of internment camps or purchase of ammunition, armored vehicles and riot gears by DHS. Equally, no natural disaster can be visualized with a sway over half the North American continent to need preparing internment centers over whole of United States.
That leaves some sort of a terrorist attack. Major disaster striking America through terrorist acts is seemingly ruled out by the findings of the Senate’s bipartisan Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Analyzing more than 80,000 intelligence reports produced by DHS between April 1, 2009 and April 30, 2010, the Subcommittee commented “that DHS’ 70-plus fusion centers — places where state, local and federal law enforcement analyze and share information – uncovered a single terrorist threat.”
So, what could be the reason for these draconian measures that hit at the very foundations of the much touted American freedom, First Amendment and all the democracy crap?
One likely clue lies in the timing of these measures that are in tango with the ever-falling American economy and ever-mounting economic distress of the ordinary Americans.
Occupy Protests that characterized American landscape last year advertised American misery, inequality and bankster-controlled administration globally. These protests, as we know, were inspired by the successful toppling of long entrenched tyrannies in Tunisia and Egypt. Americans, already seething with anger as a result of economic downturn that saw millions loosing jobs and houses and going hungry, smelled an opportunity to replicate Arab Spring in the United States.
They may not have succeeded in achieving their goals yet but they have made a remarkable difference by making majority of Americans aware about and willing to take on the cause of their miseries – Zionist-controlled political dispensation and economy. (Couple it with Islamophobia, and you find likely relevance for ‘religious consideration’ in enacting “Mass Fatality Planning and Religious Considerations Act.”)
Injections of stimulus funds into economy or bailout of banks didn’t work for the benefit of the affected population; situation, instead of improving, has worsened compared to the last year when OWS protests began. With economy expected to really nose dive by the end of the current quarter, the Government should naturally be expecting, in fact anticipated by many, more and severe trouble that could nucleat and spread as mass civil unrest.
In fact some blog posts are calling upon people to store food, medicines and other necessities of daily life. Remember America ranks No. 1 in terms of arms in civilian hands — 270 million pieces (89 per 100) by 2007 estimates. That is where each and every measure enumerated above fits best. Anticipation of “USA 2013: Riotmageddon” may not be hot gas, after all.
As an aside, Europeans, not to be left behind, too, suffer many of the same problems that Americans suffer. Protests over much of the EU have been a routine all through 2011 and 2012. Indeed, a respected European think tank, Laboratoire Européen d’Anticipation Politique, is anticipating large scale social unrest and riots in Europe by early 2013.
Earlier, the Telegraph reported that the British Government, itself in no good economic condition, “had asked embassies and consulates for contingency plans for rioting and social unrest in countries most affected by the eurozone crisis.”
Western world appears headed for a period of economic gloom and social explosion.